The South Carolina Building Energy Efficiency Standard Act was first enacted in 1979. The Act referenced the Southern Building Code Congress, International (SBCCI) Standard Building Code for energy provisions. The Governor signed a statewide building code bill in the summer of 1997. Prior to June 13, 1997, local jurisdictions that desired to adopt building codes were permitted to do so by local ordinance. If a jurisdiction did adopt building codes, it was required to adopt only the codes authorized by the Building Codes Act. Once adopted, the jurisdiction was obligated to continue adoption of each new edition within one year after it was made available by the publisher. The implementation date for enforcement was established by the local jurisdiction.
Starting July 13, 1997, all local jurisdictions that did not legally "opt out" of the mandatory building code program were required to adopt building codes by local ordinance, after they were authorized by the Council. The Council was also required to establish the date of implementation for each of the adopted codes. Starting July 2, 2003, the Council was charged with the responsibility for adopting all mandatory building codes and establishing the date of implementation for the local jurisdictions.
Previous adoptions of energy codes in South Carolina were the 2000 IECC on May 24, 2000 (effective July 1, 2001) and the 2003 IECC on May 26, 2004 (effective January 1, 2005).
On November 28, 2007, the South Carolina Building Code Council (BCC) formally adopted the 2006 IECC for non-residential buildings and 2006 IRC for residential buildings. Due to the statuary process for code adoption, the 2006 IECC was officially implemented in South Carolina on July 1, 2008, but implementation of the 2006 IRC was postponed until July 1, 2009.
On June 2, 2009, then-Gov. Mark Sanford signed legislation (HB 3550) which mandated the 2006 IECC for all new and renovated buildings effective July 1, 2009. Local building officials would be required to enforce the new standards, and alternate enforcers would be provided in areas that do not have building code officials.
The legislation also called for the South Carolina Building Codes Council (BCC) to adopt by reference and amend the latest editions of the I-Codes published by the International Code Council. Most importantly, the bill removed a residential compliance option (see below) which weakened the energy savings achievable through the 2006 IECC by allowing homes to meet state code through four prescriptive R-values (the energy efficiency of such homes is comparable to those built using the 1992 Model Energy Code, or MEC).
Original language calling for adoption of the "current edition" of the IECC was amended during the committee process to the "2006" IECC. Following the direction of the HB 3550 (2009), the 2009 I-Codes were adopted on March 22, 2010 and will go into effect on January 1, 2011. This included the 2009 IRC and IBC, but not the 2009 IECC.
2009 IECC Update: In 2012, the state of South Carolina took a major step forward on building energy efficiency by adopting a significant update to the state’s building energy code. In late 2011, the proposed update won approval by the state Energy Advisory Council (EAC) of the Public Utility Review Committee of the South Carolina Legislature. In January, the South Carolina Legislature introduced legislation to update the South Carolina Energy Standard to reference the 2009 IECC (it currently references the 2006 IECC). The South Carolina Home Builders Association spoke in favor of the bill during the committee process.
On February 23, 2012, the House approved H. 4639, and the Senate concurred on March 21. Gov. Nikki Haley signed the bill into law as Act 143 on April 2, 2012. The effective date will be January 1, 2013.
** Residential requirements prior to July 1, 2009: These were addressed in the South Carolina Code of Laws, Title 6, Chapter 10 (the Building Energy Efficiency Standard Act). Section 6-10-30 references the current edition of Appendix J (Code for Energy Conservation in new building construction) to the Standard Building Code of the Southern Building Code Congress International, which prohibits the Building Code Council from adopting energy code requirements for residential buildings other than those listed in the statute. The BCC cannot apply the energy efficiency chapter of the IRC (Chapter 11), and it has been deleted in the version of the 2003 IRC with state-specific modifications that South Carolina adopted. Appendix J provides only prescriptive R-values and is most comparable to the 1992 Model Energy Code (MEC) in stringency. Among the regulations from section 6-10-30:
- In one and two family dwellings, double pane or storm windows must be used for window glass and in the case of ceilings, exterior walls, floors with crawl space, and heating and air conditioning duct work, the determination of the minimum thermal resistance ratings (R-value) must be:
- R-30 for ceilings, except for ceiling/roof combinations, which must be R-19;
- R-13 for exterior walls;
- R-19 for floors with crawl space; and
- R-6, or the installed equivalent, for heating and air conditioning duct-work not located in conditioned space
- Nothing in this subsection may be construed to inhibit utilization of higher minimum thermal ratings.
- To facilitate the affordability of purchases of housing, minimum thermal resistance ratings of R-19 for ceilings and R-11 for floors may be used provided the builder discloses the insulation levels to the buyer. The certificate of disclosure of non-compliance must be on a form available from the South Carolina Residential Builders Commission and a copy must be submitted to the commission which must keep it for thirteen years.